Because of you, someone will eat today
Volunteers make it possible for Ozarks Food Harvest to feed 30,000 individuals each and every week. Become a Hunger Hero by donating your time! Whether you volunteer monthly, or commit to a weekly schedule, your gift of time will Transform Hunger into Hope for children, families and seniors in need in the Ozarks.
In a typical three-hour Sort & Pack session at the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief in Springfield, you will help provide more than 300 meals. Complete the easy volunteer application to become part of The Food Bank’s volunteer community, or if you’re a returning Hunger Hero, simply login to schedule your upcoming session. All volunteers are required to schedule in advance and must arrive on time, wearing closed-toe shoes. For assistance, contact Jo Thompson at (417) 865-3411, ext. 114.
COVID-19 Update Regarding Volunteers
Ozarks Food Harvest will resume its volunteer program on Monday, July 6th. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these strange times. We’ve missed you and we’re looking forward to having you join us again. For the time being, sessions are limited to 10 to 12 volunteers to help maintain social distancing. If you are interested in scheduling a group and there are not enough openings available, please contact Jolene Thompson at email@example.com at 417-865-3411. Scroll down to view the schedule or click here to learn more about the re-opening of the program.
We continue to stay current with the various changes and will adjust our plans as necessary. You can be assured that all protective measures will be strictly followed for your safety! Please reach out if you have any questions.
Processing donations during weekday Sort & Pack projects are key to Ozarks Food Harvest’s average distribution of nearly 1.5 million meals each month. If Monday through Friday doesn’t fit your schedule, evening and weekend sessions are also available.
Help Transform Hunger into Hope
These Sort & Pack shifts fall within OFH’s hours of operation. The projects involve checking food safety guidelines and expiration dates, sorting like items and repacking food for distribution. Individuals ages 12+ and groups are welcome, and orientation is provided. Weekly commitments are also encouraged. Due to COVID-19, weekday sessions are:
- MORNING SESSIONS: Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. – noon
- AFTERNOON SESSIONS: Monday–Thursday from 1–4 p.m.
Ozarks Food Harvest partners with 270 pantries and feeding sites across 28 counties we serve in southwest Missouri. You can view a current list of partners in your community here. Please call the site directly to learn about volunteer needs.View Current Opportunities
Evenings & Weekends include assembly projects
In addition to donation inspection, volunteer opportunities often include assembly line-style projects, such as packing food bags for the Weekend Backpack Program or Senior Food boxes. Groups and individuals ages 12+ are welcome! Due to COVID-19, evening sessions are:
- EVENING SESSION 1: Tuesday from 6 – 9 p.m.
Thursday evening sessions may resume this fall, and Saturday sessions are currently closed for the summer. Assembly projects rely on large groups (25 openings per session) and full sessions; however, specific project requests cannot be made, as projects are scheduled as needed for distribution.View Current Opportunities
Volunteer at ofh & partner gardens
For those volunteers who would like to volunteer outside and get their hands dirty, we have multiple opportunities each week to give time in our garden and partner garden. Sessions include harvesting, planting and maintaining beds and high tunnels. Due to COVID-19, garden sessions are:
July 6 – Sept. 30
- Mondays, 8 – 10 a.m.
- Thursdays, 2 – 4 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m.
Up to eight volunteers can sign up for each session. Special gleaning opportunities are emailed to volunteers as they arise (typically April – October) and are usually focused on harvesting crops at partnering farm and garden sites in the Springfield Metro area.
Groups and individuals any age are welcome! Special sessions available for groups upon request. Please contact Jo Thompson at (417) 865-3411, ext. 114.View Current Opportunities
Help collect food and funds
Volunteers are often needed for Ozarks Food Harvest’s special events. These Hunger Heroes primarily help collect food and funds to raise hunger awareness in the Ozarks.
From answering phones at The Food Bank’s annual Hungerthon radio-thon fundraiser to accepting food donations at Turkey Trot, Ozarks Food Harvest volunteers make a difference.View Current Opportunities
You can help rescue fresh produce from area farms, gardens and orchards for donation to those in need.
Produce goes to waste when there aren’t enough hands to help harvest
The Glean Team helps solve this problem, while supporting production of locally grown produce. Gleaning is the term for collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been harvested or on fields where it isn’t economically profitable to harvest. Regular volunteer sessions are available in Greene County at two OFH Full Circle Gardens partner locations and as needed by request. These sessions, when available, can be found on the existing volunteer program calendar.
Is your farm or garden outside Greene County?
The OFH Glean Team primarily operates in Greene County, but Food Bank staff, along with the University of Missouri Extension, is working to connect outlying farms with nearby pantries and programs. Call Alexa at (417) 865-3411 to learn more.
Plant an Extra Row for the Hungry
Launched in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association, Plant A Row for the Hungry is a people-helping-people program that encourages gardeners to grow a little extra and donate the produce to local food pantries serving the homeless and hungry in their local communities. Will you plant an extra row? If you do, you can donate your harvest to The Food Bank’s distribution center located at 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. in Springfield. Ozarks Food Harvest will deliver the produce to food pantries and other hunger-relief organizations across 28 Missouri counties.Learn about Full Circle Gardens
Make an even bigger impact
Ask your friends, family or co-workers to join you in volunteering! Ozarks Food Harvest can accommodate for groups up to 25. Volunteer groups could be asked to sort and repack donations, assemble Weekend Backpack food bags or pack or Senior Food boxes. For safety and planning purposes, The Food Bank requires the exact number of volunteers attending at least one week prior to the scheduled session, and youth groups require one adult for every five youth (ages 12 to 15). For special youth or group sessions, contact Jo Thompson at (417) 865-3411.Sign Up Your Group
The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program provides food insecure children with a bag of nutritious, child-friendly food for them to take home over the weekends, when they might otherwise go hungry.Read More
Supplementing the diets of low-income seniors with nutritious USDA food at 33 locations across the Ozarks, this program provides more than 3,600 eligible seniors with healthy food through senior centers, churches and pantries.Read More
Mobile Food Pantry
Ozarks Food Harvest's pantry on wheels delivers bulk loads of food to central locations in rural areas, or to member food pantries that do not have adequate freezer or cooler space.Read More